The Graduate (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

While The Graduate is a rare case of the film being better than the book, most of the haters can spare no love for the novel because of the movie is so good--not because the book is bad. In fact, one of the highlights of the Mike Nichols adaptation are the characters' conversations, and they've been lifted almost directly from the page in every iconic scene. In fact, Webb so wonderfully captures the patterns of human speech that The Graduate could double as a how-to manual for writing dialog. While the film offers opulent settings and sumptuous sensory detail, Webb pares the prose down to sparer, Hemingwayesque descriptions. This is, however, entirely in service to the rapid-fire repartee, clever banter, and endlessly quotable lines. A perfect gift for recent grads, parents of moody college students, and cultural studies junkies alike, I hereby nominate this novel for the Best Book You Think You Know, But Don't award.

— From Beth's Picks


The classic “brilliant…sardonic, ludicrously funny” (The New York Times) story of an aimless college graduate in 1960s America that inspired the acclaimed film by Mike Nichols.

When Benjamin Braddock graduates from a small eastern college and comes home to his parents’ house, everyone wants to know what he’s going to do with his life. Benjamin has no idea. Feeling empty, embittered, and adrift, he falls haplessly into an affair with Mrs. Robinson, the seductive wife of his father’s business partner. But then he falls in love with a woman closer to his own age: Mrs. Robinson’s daughter, Elaine.

A scathingly entertaining tale of idealism and materialism, corruption and conformity, The Graduate captures with hilarity and insight the alienation of youth and the disillusionment of an era.

About the Author

Charles Webb attended Williams College in Massachusetts, then wrote The Graduate in reaction to what he considered the emptiness of his college education. The novel was subsequently made into a celebrated film as well as a successful play. Webb was largely silent for many decades, but after moving to England in 1998 with his long-term partner, he found fresh inspiration and wrote the delightful New Cardiff, adapted for the screen under the title Hope Springs. He died in 2020.

Praise For…

The New York Times Brilliant...sardonic, ludicrously funny.

Chicago Tribune A highly gifted and accomplished writer.

The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) His novel makes you want to laugh and it makes you want to cry.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780743456456
ISBN-10: 0743456459
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2002
Pages: 272
Language: English